The premise that it's better to give than to receive certainly applies to fear.
Inspiring it is one of the principal joys of being a top executive and may even outrank the company car and the fat expense account as a perk of high office.
In case you are new to a position of awe, I'll pass along some tips on how to enjoy it. Like isometrics, they are exercises you can fit easily into a day at the office.
A simple one is to tell someone who knows he has brought you a mediocre piece of work that it is the best thing he's ever done.
Another is to take a self-confident type aside and say, "In spite of what you may have heard, your job here is really secure--for now." Don't forget the "for now," which makes your statement doubly threatening.
One of the more constructively scary things to do is to ask a department head to come up with 10 ways to improve his or her department's performance. It's a cute way to indicate dissatisfaction (whether real or not), and you might unearth some worthwhile suggestions.
When you can spare the personnel, try having several people compete to provide the best idea on a project. It makes them sweat in more ways than one.
If you enjoy making people nervous, you can always drop in unannounced on a group or department meeting and watch the presiding manager squirm.
Beware, however, of a surprise appearance at a sales presentation. You might cause your sales people to botch it. You might also run into some tough and unexpected questions from customers.
I've saved one of the best ploys for last. The truly fearsome executive always brings a curve ball to a major meeting. If your ad agency is presenting new commercials for your Brand A, be prepared to detail the erosion of your Brand B's market share, and to ask why more attention hasn't been paid to it.
If your production manager is showing plans for expanding your factory, be ready to attack on the subject of absenteeism or the delays in the machinists' training program.
With a little homework on your part you can always find a weak spot.
As to when to throw your curve ball--early or late in the meeting--there are advantages to each. By opening with it, you can cast a pleasurable damper that might last through the entire proceedings. On the other hand, if the meeting turns out to be one in which your underlings perform really well, it's fun to end with a downer. So take your choice.
Either way you'll make the point that every problem is top priority and that you are a demanding so-and-so with your eye on everything.
Along with the joy of fear, you may get some extra results. But love won't be one of them.